Eric Little – Seven Ranges Radio
This week’s schedule features a really good Class AA matchup, a cross-river matchup with playoff implications for both teams, and lots of matchups between teams that can’t afford many more losses. Here are the games for this week (All games scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday unless otherwise specified):
Lincoln (5-1) at Ritchie County (4-2)
Ritchie County’s four-game winning streak came to an end on Friday, thanks to a 43-21 loss to Ravenswood. Known for creating takeaways, the turnover hurt Ritchie this week as the Rebels lost three fumbles. The Rebels were able to get the ball into the hands of Dylan Frye again though, as the talented wide out connected with quarterback Alex Lipscomb on a 57-yard touchdown pass. Lipscomb threw for 264 yards and three touchdowns in the loss. Things don’t get easier this week as the Rebels return home to face five-win Lincoln.
Though Lincoln has five wins, they’ve only eclipsed 27 points once – last week in a 45-14 win over Grafton. A win against the Rebels would be one of the biggest resume boosters for Lincoln and would greatly solidify a high spot in the SSAC rankings. The Rebels will struggle again to run the ball, so they must get big efforts from Lipscomb and everyone involved in the passing game.
If the Rebels can limit the turnovers and come out strong in the second half – a recipe they’ve followed to victory a few times this year – they’ve got a chance to join their opponents in the five-win club.
St. Marys (5-0) at Calhoun County (0-6)
No team in the area impressed more people around the state with its win last week than the St. Marys Blue Devils. They certainly looked convincing in a 32-13 win over previously unbeaten Williamstown. The ground game tallied 267 yards on 61 carries, owning the time of possession. And how did the Blue Devils survive three turnovers against one of the state’s perennial small school powers? By creating four takeaways – including two on interceptions by Brett Fetty.
St. Marys even showed they had a few tricks up its sleeve, getting a critical first down on an early drive through a fake punt and scoring a touchdown on a halfback pass from Noah Spitzer to Garrett Furr. Spitzer also ran for a touchdown but the ground game was dominated by David Gray. With three rushing touchdowns as part of a 111-yard night, Gray has now scored seven of the last ten Blue Devil touchdowns going back to the previous St. Marys game against Tyler Consolidated.
This week St. Marys faces the dreaded trap game against a struggling Calhoun County team. The Red Devils equaled their highest point total of the year in a 25-18 road loss at South Harrison, their narrowest loss of the year. None of the four remaining teams on Calhoun County’s schedule will constitute an easy game and there is a real chance these Red Devils may go winless.
For St. Marys, this will be little other than a chance to let the first-team get some reps in the first half before getting a break heading into what will be another tough game next week with Magnolia. This game can be heard locally on Lite Rock 93R (93.9 FM) or online at www.literock93R.com.
South Harrison (2-3) at Parkersburg Catholic (5-1) (Saturday 7:30)
Under the Saturday afternoon sun, the Parkersburg Catholic Crusaders collected its fifth win, coming out on top of a 15-6 game against the Doddridge County Bulldogs. In a game that was scoreless at the half and just 7-6 in favor of the Crusaders at the end of three quarters, Parkersburg Catholic recovered a Doddridge fumble near midfield late in the fourth quarter before capping a scoring drive with a Jake Boice touchdown run.
Parkersburg Catholic got on the board in the third quarter on another Boice TD run. This week, the Crusaders finish up a three-game stretch at home against South Harrison, a team that’s struggled mentally and emotionally this season.
By now, the state knows of the loss of Hawks senior Dylan Jeffries. After leaving a game against Lincoln two weeks ago and collapsing on the sidelines because of a blood clot, Jeffries died in a Morgantown hospital Sunday night. While Jeffries lay clinging to life last Friday, his teammates pulled off what was surely an emotional 25-18 win over Calhoun County. This week will be the first time since their teammate’s passing that the Hawks will have to take the field.
The South Harrison Hawks deserve standing ovations at all their games every time they take the field for the rest of the season because of the bravery they’ve shown throughout this entire ordeal. No group of high school student-athletes should have to deal with a situation like what the Hawks have had on their plate. Sadly, life doesn’t play favorites or discriminate and the Hawks have been left to look to their families, their community and each other for strength in a difficult time.
However, the numbers are what they are…and offensively, they aren’t good. Outside their two wins, the Hawks have scored a combined 13 points in three losses. And don’t let a weak 15-point effort fool you – the Crusaders are capable of lighting up a scoreboard. Just ask Wirt County, a team Parkersburg Catholic lit up for six touchdowns. Parkersburg Catholic should be able to fine-tune a few things in this one before they hit the stretch run of their season.
Federal Hocking, Ohio (3-3) at Wahama (5-1)
The Wahama White Falcons racked up the fifth win of their season on Friday, defeating previously unbeaten Southern, Ohio 28-14. For the White Falcons, it was the first time in a win where they didn’t score at least 54 points. It’ll also be one of the last real tests the White Falcons face this season.
This week’s opponent, Federal Hocking, bears a .500 winning percentage. Then Wahama faces a South Gallia team that has a puffed-up 4-2 record. The White Falcons finish the year against sub-.500 Miller and Buffalo. So, there is little margin of error down the stretch for a White Falcons team that needs to rack up as many wins as possible to raise their SSAC ranking prior to the playoffs.
Federal Hocking has lost two of their last three games, including a 57-34 loss last week to South Gallia. It’s never a good sign when mediocre teams are hanging 57 points on you, and when you’re the Lancers, you don’t want to follow that up by welcoming a team like Wahama…who can duplicate the feat, and then some. Don’t expect Wahama to equal that 57-point total, but a blowout win isn’t out of the question either.
Williamstown (4-1) at Oak Glen (0-6)
It’s not often that a Williamstown team sinks by its own mistakes, but that’s in large part what happened in a 32-13 loss to St. Marys last week. The Yellowjackets kept things close through three quarters, but eventually couldn’t overcome four turnovers – three interceptions and a fumble on special teams that set up the first St. Marys score of the night.
The special teams miscue is especially rare, since excellence on special teams has been a hallmark of wining Yellowjackets teams over the years. Jake Tracewell ran for both Williamstown scores in the loss for St. Marys. Look for him to shake off the three interceptions he fired this week against Oak Glen. St. Marys controlled time of possession against the Yellowjackets and that led to issues for Williamstown in getting Trace Hart going from the backfield.
Hart carried the ball fewer than ten times in the contest and was never a factor. The Blue Devils never allowed Williamstown to gain any steam on offense. Expect that to change this week against the struggling Golden Bears and expect Williamstown’s offense to click a lot better than they did against St. Marys.
Parkersburg (2-3) at Woodrow Wilson (2-3)
In a game that proved to be a shocker for many area observers, Parkersburg lost narrowly on the road at South Charleston by a 21-19 score. The Big Reds fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter, but the defense dug in to give its best performance of the year. Special teams victimized the Big Reds as they missed an extra point after their first touchdown, which led them to chase points the rest of the game.
A missed two-point conversion attempt on Parkersburg’s second touchdown provided the margin of the loss. Aaron Roberts was Parkersburg’s biggest weapon, scoring touchdowns three different ways. He returned an interception for the first Parkersburg score, ran for the Big Reds’ second score and connected with Josh Trembly on a 14-yard strike. This week, Parkersburg faces a Woodrow Wilson team that’s had their share of issues with some of the state’s elite teams already this year.
They’ve been shut out in two of their three losses – once against Huntington and once against 2012 Class AAA runner-up Cabell Midland. On the flip side, Woodrow Wilson has scored 50 points or more in both wins this year. So the capability to light the scoreboard exists for Woodrow Wilson.
But the question still unanswered is whether or not Parkersburg is capable of putting up another effort in the neighborhood of what they gave last week in their near-upset of South Charleston. If the answer to that question is “yes”, this becomes a very winnable game for Parkersburg.
John Marshall (3-2) at Parkersburg South (1-4)
The bye week serves as a perfect reboot for Parkersburg South’s football season. The Patriots had last week off after a five-week stretch that saw Parkersburg South lose four straight and blow a 26-point lead in one of those losses. Parkersburg South’s struggles have come in all facets of the game. Turnovers, penalties, defensive lapses, coverage issues on special teams and offensive shortcomings have all victimized Parkersburg South at some point this season.
The Patriots open up the second half with a stretch of three winnable games in a row, beginning with this clash against the Monarchs. John Marshall made the long trip to Musselman last week only to get sauced 34-7 by the Applemen. Don’t let John Marshall’s winning record deceive you either. The combined record of the three teams the Monarchs defeated is just 1-17. John Marshall – the Supreme Court Justice – could’ve fielded a pick up team of fellow justices that would’ve provided a stiffer challenge for the Monarchs.
If the Patriots can get the ground game going the way they did in their season-opening win against Ripley, they have a shot to come away with another win and can look to build momentum against a stretch of teams that aren’t necessarily pushovers, but they aren’t world-beaters either. And remember, the Patriots have had a week off to prepare for this stretch run…expect a focused and determined effort out of Mike Eddy’s squad.
South Charleston (4-2) at Ripley (1-5)
David Tennant earned his first win at Ripley High School with a 41-20 road triumph at Nitro last week. Quarterback Trevor Tucker led the way for the Vikings, racking up nearly 350 yards of total offense by himself as part of a night where Ripley picked up 461 total yards of offense. The Vikings used the second quarter as a springboard to the win, scoring 21 points in the period. It won’t be easy to get their second win this week though, as they welcome the South Charleston Black Eagles to town.
The Black Eagles jumped out to an early 14-0 first quarter lead against Parkersburg before holding on to win a 21-19 nail biter. Expect that to be a lesson to the South Charleston squad. The Vikings will need to do everything right that they did against Nitro – and then some – if a second straight win is to come.
Ravenswood (3-2) at Braxton County (1-5)
Ravenswood head coach Mick Price picked up the most significant win in his tenure as head coach last week with a 43-21 victory over Ritchie County. Devon Crews led the way for the Red Devils with 124 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. Ravenswood also recovered three Ritchie County fumbles in what was likely the most complete game of Ravenswood’s season.
It was also a great bounceback from a 21-14 loss to Williamstown a week ago where the Red Devils blew a 14-point halftime lead. Now, the Red Devils have some momentum and have a great chance to pick up more in a road games against the struggling Braxton County Eagles. The Eagles got into the win column by pitching a 39-0 shutout over Liberty Harrison.
Prior to that, Braxton County had lost their first five games of the year and had only scored more than two touchdowns in a game twice during that span. Ravenswood’s second half schedule includes games against two Class AAA teams (Point Pleasant, Ripley) and playoff contender St. Marys, so needs to take care of business in Flatwoods on Friday.
Tolsia (2-3) at Roane County (3-2)
Paden City (2-4) at Conotton Valley, Ohio (1-5) (Saturday 1:00)
Buffalo (0-6) at Wirt County (1-4)